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Analyzing the 2018 Midterm Elections

Takeaways from the 2018 midterm elections.

The results in Illinois

The most prominent change in Illinois politics is that Democrat J.B. Pritzker beat incumbent Republican Bruce Rauner for the position of governor of the state of Illinois. Pritzker supports raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, has proposed the introduction of a public health insurance option, and is in favor of legalizing marijuana. In Illinois District 13, which includes Champaign county, incumbent Republican Rodney Davis beat out Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan by around 3,000 votes. This was an extremely narrow race, especially for such a large district.


The most notable outcome of the election is that the House of Representatives flipped; it now has a Democratic majority for the first time in 10 years. However, the Senate Republican majority increased. The House turning blue is extremely influential because it provides a check on an otherwise entirely conservative government. 

Blue wave?

Many high profile races were losses for Democrats – most notably Ted Cruz pulling off a narrow win against Beto O’Rourke for senator in Texas. However, many are crediting the new majority in Congress and the competitiveness of previously red states to the “blue wave,” or liberal backlash against the Trump administration. However, the wave wasn’t a tsunami – Democrats did not completely dominate this election. Alongside many high profile Democrats losing their elections, several senate seats flipped from blue to red. Another aspect of the wave is that a historically red state, Texas, went purple. The race between Beto O’Rourke and Ted Cruz was incredibly close for a state that has not had a Democratic senator since 1988. This change is mostly due to increased voter turnout, especially first time voters who hadn’t previously participated in elections.

Wave of women

One hundred and ten women were elected on Tuesday, which is a new record number for women in Congress. Alongside this new record, two Muslim women were elected Tuesday, which makes them the first Muslim women elected to Congress ever. The first Native American woman was also elected into Congress. Regardless of politics, more female representation in Congress in some of the highest offices in the land is wonderful and revolutionary for the U.S. 

Voter turnout

The most exciting part of the midterms are the reports of increased voter turnout. Historically, there has been incredibly low turnout for midterm elections, even though local elections are some of the most influential. Whether Democrat or Republican, bigger voter turnout is fantastic because America has extraordinarily low voter turnout, especially when compared to other democracies. Low voter turnout endangers democracy – if only 20% of Americans vote, around 10% of Americans are deciding who is in power in this country. If you did not vote on Tuesday, please consider voting in 2020 for the presidential election. 


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Emily Whalen

Illinois '21

Sophomore at University of Illinois studying political science and psychology.
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